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Infusing smooth jazz with latin, pop, funk and soul and influenced by her gospel music background, singer-songwriter-performer Joanna Melas has just released her debut album A Natural Selection featuring her 3 new originals, Danca Da Chuva, We Had No Cares and Such As These, plus seven stunningly arranged covers creating a feast for the senses.
As an established entertainer on the hotel/club circuit, Joanna is regularly sought out by venues, agents and other musicians. She has also been contracted for many corporate events, cruise liners, weddings and has the rare distinction of having performed daily at the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
Joanna, the youngest of five children, grew up in Bondi Sydney in a musical household with her father playing the mandolin and her mother singing - Joanna seemed destined to pursue a career in music.
During her school and college years, Joanna excelled in art, taught herself guitar and piano, studied acting and singing, and performed in The Sydney Philharmonia Choir for a year before moving to the USA to study at Heritage School of Evangelism/ Communication North Carolina where she toured in a gospel music group and appeared on national television.
Back in Sydney due to both parents falling ill, Joanna was invited to be music director of a church, where for five years, she used her talents in the area of inspirational music and outreach programs, touching the lives of many.
Over the following years Joanna developed an extensive repertoire of timeless covers, performed numerous shows in live bands and as a solo artist across Australia and New Zealand, as well as co-writing songs and recording for others.
With the gift of transforming a song into a mood and a message, and a voice you can listen to for hours, Joanna has the capacity to steal hearts and garner a following of diverse and loyal fans.
Arriving at Style Music Studios in the Hunter Valley felt like a homecoming for Joanna. Destined to pursue a career in music, the release of her album A Natural Selection in May 2011 is a dream come true and the fulfilment of a promise made long ago. Having cultivated a successful career as an accomplished singer and entertainer, one of the busiest on the Sydney circuit, Joanna arrived at the recording studio with plans to release an album of the covers most requested at her gigs.
Working on the album gave Joanna a chance to re-evaluate where she wanted her passion for music to take her and, as she revisited some of her earlier compositions, including Such As These, she became inspired to write again. Creative energies taking over, Joanna wrote Danca da Chuva and We Had No Cares. The final product, A Natural Selection – which features three original songs and seven award-winning covers with dazzling new arrangements – has been warmly received by the industry and the public and signifies an exciting new phase in Joanna’s career.
Recording took place over three months, with around 113 hours spent at Style Music Studios directed and programmed by the very talented Phil Tweed. Guitars were played by Phil Tweed, Dieter Kleemann and Joanna. Phil also played piano, keys, bass, drums and percussion. Craig Walters was on tenor saxaphone, Stewart Kirwan on muted trumpet and flugelhorn, Leigh Sherringham on trombone.
Each track was co-produced and co-arranged by Joanna and Phil and then mastered by Oscar Gaona at Studios 301 in Sydney.
“The collaboration with Phil was magical - I was very much in my element,” Joanna said. “Creating the arrangements with meticulous detail and exploring the sounds we used was a journey I'd been waiting to take for a long time and now it was actually happening. A Natural Selection is the fulfilment of a promise I made to myself a while back.”
Having spent many years performing covers and recording for others, A Natural Selection was Joanna’s first opportunity to showcase her talents as a songwriter, arranger and producer and the final product truly is a production to feast the senses. The behind the scenes work has also unleashed the songwriter within, evoking Joanna’s desire to not only continue performing music but create it, so fans can expect great things from this velvety voiced songstress in the future – watch this space!
What Music Journalists are saying….
“Joanna Melas is a singer with a voice that is made for the stage. Her vocals are as smooth as velvet. It’s sexy, it’s sultry and most of all it’s captivating. Melas radiates with charisma. To be a great singer on stage, it takes more than just hitting all the right notes. To use a cliché, you have to have “it,” and Melas definitely has it! In fact, Melas at times sounds quite a bit like Gloria Estefan. She has the same instant likability. She is a star in the making.” -Zack Daggy, IN, USA
“Melas has a winning Sade-like quality” -Dan MacIntosh, CA, USA
“..shows a wholesome sensitivity that strongly recalls Karen Carpenter.” -Nick DeRiso, SC,USA
“Fast, slow, sensual, spiritual - she makes anything sound incredible and the best part is, the listener can tell through her delivery that she is immensely enjoying herslf no matter what she is singing.” -Kelly O’Neil, NC, USA
“Joanna’s crossover talent and multi-genre expertise provide a high-quality listening experience for fans of jazz, Latin, dance, pop, folk, and lounge music." -Matthew Forss, WI, USA